MArtin Lewis is in his happy place. Curious Walker is sitting in a cafरी outside his favorite London Park, and a few days into his 50th birthday, shy, a contented family man trying to break any oath from the record in the case of his nine-year-old daughter. This happens while reading the piece.
When he dropped out of Cardiff with a bachelor’s degree in journalism more than 20 years ago, he had a simple idea: “I’ve always wanted to be the person to talk about money this morning. When you see something like this,” he says, “you see stylists and you wear hair Look and you see the cooks and you see the psychiatrists, you see all these people and they talk about changing people’s lives. Well, you can’t do this without money. 123m, mainly due to the sale of his website MoneySavingExpert, which he built at शुरु 100 in the early 100, to the price comparison company MoneySuperMarket.But the household name status and, more recently, praise
Praise does not come overnight. It first appeared during the Brexit debate, when it was voted on, in a general poll, the most credible voice on the issue. When I suggest that he is now the new-wave Marcus Rasford – in which he is strongly criticizing the status quo, from where you do not expect – he says: “Well, I’ve been around a long time.”
Despite his success, however, his habit is nothing but carelessness. And while there are many reasons for this, the immediate cost of a life crisis is. In it, he has emerged as the strongest and most resolute voice from the sea of voluntary political oblivion. Two weeks ago, he says, “I made a deliberate, subtle and specific remark that I am out of the tool to help people with energy, especially the poor.” It was a shocking statement from anyone, but much from Lewis, thanks to his controversial personality.
He wrestled with saying, “Because it was a clear, political (small-P) comment.” And there was criticism, he says, like tweets: ‘You’re the problem because you put plaster on the system and you basically don’t have to help anyone because all you have to do is put them at risk. Capitalism.’ [I sense he is paraphrasing a bit] Ko: ‘Come on friend, tell me what it is like. Call them [the government] Out. ‘ Well, at least I didn’t go down without explaining myself first. “
Clearly, though, this makes the situation “shocking and frightening and anxiety-driving” – he says with emotion – not his own situation but the situation itself. This is the very end of the road, and even as he describes it in very neutral, almost bank-manager-y language – “micro-money management is no longer the right tool for many low-income people to get through this.” In other words, he sounds and dresses like a man, he is by our side, a sheep in a wolf’s dress. I think people like him a lot because of partial reasons.
As an indication of how serious things are, he describes a section on his website, MoneySavingExpert. It’s called Hate the Human, not the house and the ways to fold your clothes, the best power-heated gloves and hot insoles – all the way you’re spending £ 40 to keep warm. The fact is it can be very frustrating. “None of this is good. I’m sorry to have to produce this guide. But I have to make options available to people who tell me they can’t afford their home. I think it’s perfectly legal, but keep doing it for my site.” It’s a little sad. “
It also keeps him in delicate balance; If he goes against the government, he loses his impartiality, which is why he is so trustworthy. “If you were told to be free according to your point of view, you are no longer free.” But he has a strong sense of justice, especially about energy bills: “Unless you’re in a big house, most people’s energy bills are almost the same, whether rich or poor. So it’s an election tax. So even if people don’t define it in their head, Yes. ” Moreover, he says: “If the politicians had my mailbag, you would understand the real, real problems happening there. And so we have to solve them.”
His pronouns move everywhere, from “them” to “you” to “us”, worrying that he won’t make “them” sound like Hector. ‘The government wants to hear. I want them to fix it. I did not say these things to defeat the government. I say these things to the government to try to help the people. It’s about prayer, reassuring, you know, crossing my fingers. Please, please … beg to hear them.
He was the first to point out a “great distance” from Martin Lewis in 2002, dealing with the day on the satellite channel Simply Money. Then, he was a young man, “thinking: ‘Look at me, I’m so smart and I’m playing the system, and nobody’s ever done it before.'” Anyone who has ever heard of how to use a cashback offer on a credit card balance transfer remembers the time he showed up, and he still laughs because he concludes that “the whole marketing of finance has changed. Because of what we did. They never put that stuff in there anymore.” Because they know I’ll tell 8 million people a minute, and it will cost a lot of money.
But as time went on, his focus shifted – first to the customer rip-off, and then to the two big campaigns. “We got people back बैंक 1bn in bank fees and then £ 12bn in PPI, right?” He said it was as if he had found बिल 12 billion under the back of a sofa. Later, he makes a more serious voice: “Boy, we can do that now.”
Gradually, they became preoccupied with individuals who were deliberately torn or not equipped to deal with the complexities of the system, in particular, but not specifically around Social Security. This led him to make financial literacy an element of the school curriculum and to launch the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute in 2016, among other things, to bug-fix society.
Take bailiffs, for example. “There are special requirements on how they should deal with vulnerable customers, which is what it should be. At the moment we assume you don’t have a mental health problem. People have mental health problems. If you can be hospitalized for anxiety and see a bailiff the day you come out, that’s not civilized society. “
This created a breathing space, a debt relief scheme launched by the government last year. Whether it’s saving you 50p on print or making sure it doesn’t get approved by the Benefit Office, it refreshes how it brings the same consistency to everything. He doesn’t have the special tone of voice he uses to talk about the “weak”, as many do. “My job is to help people make money. I don’t discriminate.” And yet, because so much has happened in her life during her career, it has changed the way she thinks. “When you look at the navel, and you do it for a long time,” he says, “you’ll develop a vision.”
He knocked on the road about 15 years ago when he was 35 years old. “I felt my own weakness. My mental health was not as strong as I thought. “Before that he considered himself invincible. He had an uncomfortable, rural childhood.” I did not grow up with money, but I did not grow up poor. “But when he was 12 years old, his mother died in a car accident. The rest of his school years were filled with horror and anxiety; he was sometimes almost at home. When he arrived at the London School of Economics for his bachelor’s degree, it was only the third time in the capital. “Then I exploded with life and confidence. I thought: ‘Wow, life is here, and I can do things.’ Coming out of years of grief and trauma. Which can be very annoying, “he says.
“I had a lot on your face. I was good; I wasn’t terrible. But I was just OTT. That boom carried him to his 20s, working for Brunswick, a financial and corporate PR company, then journalism in Cardiff, and a really good value. Consumer finance exploded like a dog with a bone. He always had new ideas. And he thought he would go into politics. But then he described it as his “dark time.” What really bothered me was thinking: ‘Thanks I can take time off from work, and I don’t have to worry about paying bills.’ There is a deep connection between money and mental health. I promised myself that when I was in a position to do something for others, I would. “
Once he started talking to charities – he mentions civic counseling (CA) and national energy work, but mental illness philanthropists speak incredibly loud about his relationship with him – his kindness met his inner terrier. During a campaign against improper bank fees, he prepared a template letter, and someone from CA told him that 15% of people would not put out “your name” before writing their name, while 5% would not write their details. Anyway, at least they were sending blank templates.
“That was one of my epiphany moments. One of the 20 people took the money and misappropriated it. You didn’t understand that you need to put your name and address on the template letter. They’re torn, and they’re so desperate that they tried.” But they can’t. I still find that very dynamic statistic. “
He shuts down all these bizarre complex modern bureaucracies – how to fill out a form for global credit is very complicated for some people, but the paperwork you have to do to hire someone else to do it for you is still complicated. And he has no doubt about the gravity of the situation: “These figures are a few years old, but debt is an absolute monster. It is weak. Due to economic problems, every year four million people think of taking their own lives and one million try.”
Now his mission is crept again, because of a person who can’t spreadsheet in his sleep No Add dots, so he looks at the line of energy growth in the autumn and says that household bill figures “look amazing, horrible, in the worst sense. I’m trying to meet politicians: ‘You have to do something or people’s lives will be ruined.’
In the days following this interview, the picture unfolds as Lewis puts it: The new forecast for October’s energy cap is £ 2,800, an unimaginable amount for millions of people. He has no qualms about being right in this stuff: in an ideal world, he would help people make the right decision between VW Golf and Ford Focus. But his combination of practicality and empathy has brought him to the frontline, where he will live and fight.
This article was modified on 25 May 2022. The previous version was created and sold by Martin Lewis, a comparison website moneysupermarket.com. This has been corrected.
In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted at 116 123 or emailed at [email protected] You can contact Mind, a mental health charity, by calling 0300 123 3393 or going to mind.org.uk. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 800-273-8255. In Australia, the Crisis Support Service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.